Connected Objects

Raincheck’s smart, artful design puts other umbrella stands in check

Rain and snow: the city slicker’s most hated enemies. Everything becomes just a little bit harder when either enters the picture, which is why getting caught unprepared is the epitome of a bad day. Designer Nick Jonas’ (not that oneRaincheck is an umbrella stand with a touch of smarts to ensure that never happens.

The product is comprised of beautifully lacquered, dark walnut wood sculpted into a tall, rectangular stand perfect for a few umbrellas. What makes Raincheck special are the eight dots of light installed within that are connected to Wi-Fi that are constantly updated on the weather.

Winter Sports

SKIDDI wheels skis around so you don’t have to carry them

Skiing is one of the few things that makes winter bearable. There’s nothing like hitting the slopes and having a great day out in the snow. However, schlepping skis all over the place, especially while wearing clunky ski boots, is less than ideal.

patent-claimedSKIDDI aims to make carrying those skis around a little more bearable. The pocket-sized product is basically a set of small wheels with a slot in between for skis. When the skis are inserted into SKIDDI, users can wheel them around with ease. SKIDDI comes in several different colors.

This product joins scores of other products aimed at fixing a problem that isn’t really even a problem. While SKIDDI is fine for pavement, it doesn’t look like it would work too well on snow which completely defeats its purpose. Usually, the hardest part of carrying skis is when one transports them from the rental shop or car to the ski lift. Still, for interested backers, SKIDDI will cost $39 for delivery in October 2015. This product is looking for $10,000 in funding on Kickstarter by April 21.

Winter Sports

Zibock combination skis and sled lets riders hike up, careen down mountains

Many skiers love the convenience of ski resorts. Chairlifts tote up the mountain and trails lead the way down. However, some like to travel off of the trails and discover new hills on their own. Those who do so aren’t able to enjoy the ease of a chairlift, but must climb the mountain on their own.

Zibock is a product for such adventurers. This French invention is a convertible ski/sled. The skis are for hiking up the mountain in a cross-country type style. The whole thing then folds together and turns into a sled. The user sits on the little seat and holds onto the pole in the middle for stability. For steering and braking, the rider can use their hands and feet. Zibock is lightweight and easy to carry around in a backpack as well.

Zibock is a cool product, albeit appropriate for only a very niche market. Still, it’s great for those who don’t mind hiking up snowy mountains. Most would probably stick with a ski lift. For their own, backers can donate a steep $749 to the campaign, or opt for lower tiers that allow for one, two or three day rentals of the product. Zibock is looking for $100,000 on Indiegogo with a campaign end date of March 25.

Winter Sports

Scion sled brings childlike wonderment to adults

For kids, sledding is the ultimate winter activity. For adults, skiing and snowboarding rule, but no one ever forgets how fun sledding was.

Now, people can enjoy the speed and agility of snowboarding with the relaxation of sledding. Scion is a sled designed aerodynamically, making speed and steering possible. Coming in either white or black, the rider sides on the back and places their feet on the runner in the front. A cord attaches the rider to the sled so that it doesn’t skitter off down the hill in case of a crash. Scion is made with the luge style in mind. Hands are used on either side for balance, but steering is done by leaning the body either left or right.

Scion seems like lots of fun, but definitely a toy for adults rather than for kids. Safety is always a concern, but if riders stick to the bunny slopes they should be okay. One will cost backers a high donation of $449 for delivery in July of this year. Scion is looking to raise $40,000 in funding on Kickstarter by March 11.

Winter Sports

Folding Sled blends winter fun and convenience

Some people’s idea of the perfect winter day is sipping on a cup of hot chocolate near the fireplace while watching the snow fall outside. For other people, going out and playing in it is the only way to go, especially when there’s a sled available. Folding Sled blends a fun winter activity with an easy way to store this seasonal item.

Since it’s lightweight, it works well for racers. But Folding Sled is also large enough that a parent and child can use it together. Assembly is touted as being uncomplicated, and when the product is not in use, the polyethylene seat allows it to fold together and store easily. This will also allow for many sleds to be packed in the family car or SUV for a sledding getaway.

Folding Sled seems like a very convenient product that may be worth exploring further. Snow-loving backers might also be interested in AXS Snoogee Board, SCIRT,  Neck Warmer, Hoogle, and MittGrips.This campaign seeks to raise £30,000 (~$46,000) by March 5. Early bird backers get one product for £170 (~$260 USD) with an expected delivery in November of this year.


Back to the Backers: The Easy Throw Shovel

Backerjack first met the Easy Throw Shovel just about a year ago. This nifty little invention promised to ease the strains of snow shoveling. By using the weight of the snow, the mechanism is able to fling the snow so the shoveler doesn’t have to. Unfortunately, funding was cancelled for this product before it could reach its goal.

Now, the Easy Throw Shovel is back. Unlike other products that come racing back to the crowdfunding scene after a time of hibernation, the Easy Throw has done little if anything to improve upon their original product. The shovel looks the same and doesn’t boast any new features. However, the price has come down substantially. In the last campaign, the shovel costed backers $72 CAD (~$58 USD), but now backers only need to shell out $48 CAD (~$39 USD), nothing wrong with a little discount. Easy Throw is looking to raise $64,000 CAD (~$51,500 USD) ($8,000 CAD less than their original goal) on Kickstarter.

Apparel Kids/Babies

MittGrips hold onto kids’ mittens, keeps their little wrists warm

Little kids love the winter. For them, it’s a time of sledding, snowman building and tubing. For parents, it’s usually a hassle trying to get kids all bundled up for the outdoors. Those little ones always seem to lose their mittens and risk getting frost bitten.

MittGrips are a solution to this problem. These mitten holders slip over mittens or gloves after they’ve been put on. There’s a thumb loop that keeps them secure. After putting them on, then goes the jacket. This way, kids can keep their mittens on while also having a layer of protection against the cold and snow.

While this is a fun project that will prove useful to all wintertime families, it’s so simple that a pair can actually be made from an old long-sleeve shirt. However, for those who aren’t as handy, one pair can be had for $10 CAD (~$8 USD) for estimated delivery in March. MittGrips is hoping to raise $18,000 CAD (~$14,900 USD) on Kickstarter.

Apparel Winter Sports

Dahu ski boots can be worn on and off the slopes

Clomping around in ski boots after hitting the slopes is one of the most uncomfortable parts of skiing. Not only do the boots hold your legs in a funny position, but they’re also made from plastic which can be slippery on the wet tile floors that most chalets have. DAHU ski boots will get you up and down the slopes just fine. After that, the outer shell opens and is removed to reveal a regular boot underneath with rubber soles. This boot is made of lightweight, waterproof material so it’s perfect for transitioning from the slopes to flat ground. DAHU comes in five colors with options for men’s, women’s, or unisex boots.

DAHU is a convenient way for skiers to get around once they’re done skiing. There’s always that awkward transition when you take off your snow boots to put on ski boots in the cold and wet chalet. The folks at DAHU may want to consider providing some kind of carrying case for the exoskeleton to make it easier to carry around. Still, this product is a welcome addition to the ski market, provided the campaign can reach its exorbitant €500,000 (~$620,400) goal. One pair will cost backers a €590 (~$730) donation for estimated delivery in November 2015.

Winter Sports

AXS Snoogee Board combines sledding and snowboarding for thrilling ride

Sledding is a snowy winter favorite for kids and adults alike. There are lots of different kinds of sleds out there from those that offer large capacities to those who claim speed.

The AXS Snoogee Board takes the traditional sled model and updates it with the utility of a snowboard. This double-tiered sled has a small straight board on the bottom and a wider board on top to lie on top of. The rider lays on top with their head facing down the mountain. AXS is built in such a way that the rider has maximum steering and stopping control. With a low center of gravity, the risk of injury is reduced upon falling off the sled.

Obviously the first question with this product is safety. However, the creators have addressed this issue in their campaign with a video and testimonials that they let their kids use the sled too. One will cost backers a whopping $700 AUD (~$580 USD) with estimated delivery for July 2015, perfect for the Australian wintertime. AXS is hoping to raise $220,000 AUD (~$181,700 USD) on Kickstarter.


Snow Guard wraps around side mirrors for windshield snow protection

One of the things that makes winter detestable is the fact that the car has to be unburied and scraped when left outside. Snow Guard offers some freedom from all of that hassle. It is touted as being able to protect against snow, ice, frost and freezing rain. It’s made of a duel layer nylon coated material and a wireframe inner structure that creates easy installation, even in windy conditions. The side gloves protect side view mirrors from snow and ice. They also allow for automatic positioning on the windshield.

The quick installation and removal only takes about 30 seconds – way better than the 30 minutes or more that it can take to scrape off the ice from an ice storm. The similar iceScreen uses the same idea, covering a car using magnets, but has the added benefit of a reflective side for summertime. This is something the folks at Snow Guard would do well to consider adding to their own product. This campaign seeks to raise $50,000 by December 17, 2014. Early bird backers get one product for $55 with an expected delivery of April 2015.